Veteran guard Dave Szott played his first game of the season, after tearing his ACL last spring. Rookie safety Jon McGraw had his first career interception, on a play that put away the Broncos for good. Laveranues Coles became the first Jet to reach 1,000 yards receiving since Keshawn Johnson in 1999. And most impressive of all, Curtis Martin reached 10,000 yards rushing for the first time in his career, becoming only the 16th player in NFL history to achieve such a feat.
It was a hard-fought win at the Meadowlands today. The Jets were down 13-6 at halftime, before Chad Pennington and the offense went on a 13-0, second half run to win the game. Pennington, aside from some errant passes, played solid football again, and finished with 244 yards and one touchdown pass. That lone touchdown was a 28-yard strike to Coles, for the go ahead score. Pennington lofted the ball into the wind and Coles fought off a pass interference, adjusted to make the catch, and acrobatically rolled his body over the goal line.
"They had Laveranues one-on-one, and I know that if I just get it somewhere in the vicinity, he can make a play," said Pennington. "I just put it up in the air and he made a great play."
Coles finished with six catches for 126 and the gratification of his first 1,000-yard season.
"It's exciting," said Coles. "I didn't think I was going to make it to this point in my career, this early, to eclipse 1,000 yards. I'm just very thankful and appreciative to my teammates because without them, this isn't possible."
Wayne Chrebet was another bright spot in the offense, and was involved in the passing attack all day. He finished with five catches for 69 yards.
Martin ran for a hard-fought 57 yards on 18 caries, against the best run defense in the league. With LaMont
"I think I'm more elated about it than I thought I would be," admitted Martin, of the milestone. "I don't get too excited about individual statistics, but after it happened I realized that one of my main goals, not only in football but in life, was accomplished."
The defense was the rest of the story, and shut out the Broncos in the second half. Running back Clinton Portis ran for 103 yards, but only 16 of them came in the second half. Marvin Jones led all players with 17 tackles, but the defensive play of the day was made by rookie Jon McGraw, who picked off Brian Griese on the Jets two-yard line to seal the victory.
"It's just like you imagine when you're a little kid growing up, making the big play to win the game," said McGraw. "I'm going to enjoy this for a couple of days, but we still have a long way to go to get to the playoffs."
The two biggest blemishes of the day were a blocked extra point and a dropped touchdown pass from Anthony Becht. Both plays could have come back to haunt the Jets, but McGraw's interception saved the day.
It wasn't a mistake-free game, but it was a great win for the Jets, who stay one-game back in the AFC East.